Ten Things to Help You Be a Better At-Home Employee
Get the equipment you need to set up a productive home office and you just might never need to punch a timecard again.
Transitioning from a typical office workplace to a home office may seem inviting, but the reality is that it can be difficult. Your home is your sanctuary, the place you go when you’re not working, and overnight the two are the same. All of your hobbies, a refrigerator full of food, and a to-do list that suddenly seems appealing, are all right there, calling to you. Hey, painting the closet would be fun right about now!
To help you stay focused on your work (and make sure that paycheck continues to roll in), we’ve put together a list of items that will make you a more productive at-home worker, keep you comfortable and alert—and keep that paint brush out of your hands.
Efficient and Versatile
This will hold a variety of models. The height is adjustable from 10 to more than 17 inches. Nulaxy
Sitting for hours hunched over a laptop, back curved and neck bent, will very quickly drive home the fact that they’re called “lap” tops for a reason. You’ll get more than uncomfortable—you’ll start feeling neck and back pain, which will make it difficult to get your work down, and it’ll be that much harder to get started the next day. The solution is to elevate the laptop, so you’ll be looking straight at the screen with your head level and your neck straight. Look for a laptop stand that has an adjustable height so you can elevate it to exactly the right spot.
6-Month Battery Life
This pick is quiet and low-profile. Arteck
You’ll need a separate keyboard because that laptop will be elevated, but there’s another reason to get one: full-size keyboards are easier to use. That means fewer typos. Get one that’s wireless, to keep your desk clear of unnecessary clutter, that also has a nice ergonomic design to keep your hands and wrists comfortable. If you won’t be crunching numbers, consider a keyboard without a numeric pad, because 10-keys take up desk space.
Flexible Rolling Rate
It has a contoured ergonomic shape, with a rest for the ring and pinky finger. VicTsing
A computer mouse is a personal choice, but whatever you go with, make sure you get one that’s wireless, again to free up open space on your desk. The cursor sensitivity should be easily adjustable so you can set it to your liking. You can go with an optical mouse or a laser mouse, but whichever you choose, make sure it can be used on a variety of surfaces, so you won’t have valuable desk space taken up by a mouse pad.
This product is available in multiple sizes and can tilt to multiple angles. Acer
Two big changes in computer monitors over the years: They’re flatter than ever, and they’re more affordable than ever. That’s why some at-home workers—even those who have laptops—invest in one. You can easily see numerous columns on a spreadsheet if you have a monitor, and you can view several documents simultaneously. That’s much better than toggling back and forth from document to document or moving documents around a small screen and wasting time trying to find them. Those are tremendous benefits from a work standpoint. Another benefit is simply the size—a bigger monitor makes everything easier to see and reduces eyestrain, making you a more efficient worker. Also, you can use it after hours for gaming or watching. Get a monitor that tilts so you can customize it to your workstation.
Multiple Colors Available
It has a cord that’s more than 3 1/2 feet long and comes with three sets of ear pads. Panasonic
You may already have a set of earbuds that came with your smartphone, but do they fit your ear well? If not, invest in a set that is made with soft bud covers that automatically adjust to the size of your ear canal. They’ll stay in your ear during those important calls with clients or the boss—which always seem to be the time when one of the buds falls out of your ear, making you appear distracted—and help block out ambient, distracting noise.
Multiple Brew Sizes
It gives you the option of making one cup or a whole pot. Keurig
You may already have a coffee maker at home—but if it’s not the kind that accepts K-cups or other coffee pods, consider getting one. The K-cup coffee machine popularized by Keurig was originally introduced to the office market for a reason. These machines eliminate the tedious seven-step process of making a pot of coffee (find and insert filter, find and load coffee grounds, pour water into reservoir, wait for coffee to brew, pour coffee into mug). A single-serve machine dispenses just the right amount of coffee directly into your mug. No more second cups of bitter, cooked coffee poured from a carafe that was sitting on a warming pad.
Another advantage of the single-serve maker: You can buy pods of various coffee types, as well as of tea, hot cocoa, and other drinks, so you’ll have a selection for yourself.
Want the ability to make an entire pot of coffee as well as a single serve? You can get a machine that does both.
The sides can be transposed to accommodate various spaces. GreenForest
One rule here—don’t skimp on size. You’ll be spending a lot of time at the desk, so make sure its surface area is large enough to hold your computer and monitor along with a lamp, printer, coffee cup, and those stacks of papers that we all seem to have even in this digital age. The last thing you want is to start with a cluttered desk. Make sure the desk has enough legroom, too.
Many home offices are shoehorned into existing living space, which makes an L-shaped desk a good choice in many situations. It gives you the room you need without overwhelming the room itself.
This seat has a height adjustment of nearly 4 inches, with tilt and tilt tension controls. AmazonBasics
Arguably the most important non-electronic home office item, the office chair should be comfortable while keeping you upright. Look for one that has height adjustment, of course, but is also tilt-adjustable and allows you to vary tilt tension, so you can lean back without effort but also without feeling as if you’re falling backward.
It will cover an area up to 215 square feet. LEVOIT
Pollen, house dust, pet dander, cooking smells—none of these belong in an office environment. They can make you uncomfortable and eventually detract from your work output. Invest in a small HEPA-filter air purifier that will keep your office air smelling fresh and free of pollutants.
Use at will to help celebrate a win or to say exactly how you feel about an idea or a task. MyMealivos
One downside of working at home is that you don’t have a coworker nearby with whom to share a victory (landing an important, client, say) or a gripe (the boss wants that report by the end of the day!) That’s when these buttons come in handy. Just remember to mute your phone before hitting that NO! button.